Keralan Green Chicken Curry

Serves 6 to 8

1 to 3 large green chilies (depending on your heat tolerance), deseeded and chopped

1/2 teaspoon each turmeric, ground coriander and cinnamon

2.5cm (1 in.) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoon flavorless oil, such as groundnut

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cloves

2 onions, sliced

12 skinless free-range chicken thigh fillets, cut into large chunks

200ml (7 oz.) reduced-fat coconut milk

large bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

juice of 1 lime

In a pestle and mortar, pound together the chillies, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger and garlic with a pinch of salt. Heat the oil in a large wok or sauté pan, and add the fresh paste. Stir well, cooking the spices. Stir in the cloves and onions and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and stir well, so that it is covered in the spices. Pour coconut milk over the chicken and gently simmer until the chicken is cooked through (about 20 minutes). If the sauce starts to dry out, turn the heat down further and add a bit more water. Taste for seasoning, it will probably need salt. To serve, add the coriander and stir through with the lime juice.  Serve with a side of basmati steamed rice.

The Culinary Chase's Note: This curry is a good way to get used to the heat of the dish. Some recipes will show curry leaf in the list of ingredients but unless you have a curry tree growing in your back yard, the leaf will have lost its flavor by the time it reaches your kitchen! In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life, and they don't keep well in the refrigerator. They are also available dried, though the aroma is largely inferior. Curry powder is a western way to mimic the flavor of fresh curry leaves. If you can find 'fresh' curry leaves, then add 10 to the wok before adding the paste.